Today’s cannabis industry gets a lot of love from celebrities and even some politicians, but since the beginning of recorded history, many of the world’s most famous figures have gotten lit.
Pharaoh Ramesses II: High as the Sphinx. Lording over ancient Egypt from 1279 to 1213 BCE, Pharaoh Ramesses II is so revered for his wisdom and leadership that Egyptians, to this day, call him “the Great Ancestor.” Ramesses the Great also valued weed so much he took some with him to the grave.
Joan of Arc: Baked at the Stake. In 1412, sainted mystic and battlefield conqueror Joan d’Arc was born into a peasant village known for using cannabis and other psychoactive healing herbs. At 15, Joan reported receiving divine messages that instructed her to get Charles VII crowned the King of France by leading his forces into war against the British. Armor-clad and amped up enough to communicate with angels, Joan did just that and became a national hero.
William Shakespeare: The Bard of Bud. Based solely on A Midsummer Night’s Dream — with its fairies, imps, and donkey-head spells — playwright William Shakespeare seems a likely candidate to have consulted with cannabis for inspiration. Many Shakespeare scholars have also pondered whether the Bard dropped hints about using weed throughout his other works. “To blaze or not to blaze?” We think we know how Shakespeare himself would answer that question.
Queen Elizabeth I: Reefer by Royal Decree. Queen Elizabeth I, England’s predominant ruler during Shakespeare’s lifetime, not only publicly endorsed the cultivation of cannabis, she fined farmers who failed to grow it!
Christopher Columbus: New World, New Weed. Still, even the devil has to get his due: Christopher Columbus actually did transport literal boatloads of weed from Europe to North America. The Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria reportedly got loaded with enough green for the captain and crew to happily sail the ocean blue, and then plant fresh crops once they hit land. Cannabis and Columbus are so intertwined, in fact, that the base of a Columbus statue in Madrid is decorated with what hand-carved pot leaves.
George Washington: Father of His Country, Cultivator of Cannabis. It’s an established fact that the Founding Fathers of the United States shared a passion for partying. It’s also known that at least four of them grew hemp — Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and, yes, our very first president, George Washington.
Queen Victoria: The Regal Remedy of Medical Marijuana. While reigning over Great Britain from 1837 until her death in 1901, Queen Victoria unknowingly pioneered modern medicine by being one of the very first patients on record to be officially prescribed marijuana to combat menstruation-related pain and other issues.
Walter Benjamin: The Philosopher’s Stoned. The writings and teachings of Nazi-defying German philosopher Walter Benjamin have profoundly influenced modern ideas and ideology regarding history, economics, religion, public policy, and — oh, yes — getting high.
JFK: Ich Bin Ein Stoner. In his 2005 book, John F. Kennedy: A Biography, author Michael O’Brien asserts that on July 16, 1962, JFK blazed no less than three joints in the White House provided by highly connected socialite Mary Meyer. O’Brien writes that pot made the president paranoid, prompting him to turn down a fourth joint and say to Meyer, “Suppose the Russians did something now.” The book also alleges that JFK compared pot unfavorably to cocaine and offered to hook up Meyer with some blow in the future. All that just makes it seem even more tragic JFK didn’t live to see the truly psychedelic end of the ‘60s.